Spending our attention
December 1st 2017
Every once a while, I think of a wonderful passage from Eric Weiner’s “Geography of Bliss” on attention.
“Attention’ is an underrated word. It doesn’t get the… well, the attention it deserves. We pay homage to love, and happiness, and, God knows, productivity, but rarely do we have anything good to say about attention. We’re too busy, I suspect. Yet our lives are empty and meaningless without attention.
My two-year-old daughter fusses at my feet as I type these words. What does she want? My love? Yes, in a way, but what she really wants is my attention. Pure, undiluted attention. Children are expert at recognizing counterfeit attention. Perhaps love and attention are really the same thing. One can’t exist without the other.”
We have a finite amount of attention in our lives. It is akin to wealth that we get to spend. Except, unlike wealth, we don’t get to save it in the bank.
It turns out that the simplest way to build a meaningful life is to spend our attention on things that have meaning. It requires us to be attentive to where we spend our attention.
This weekend, like every other, we have many forces that demand our attention.
It is on us to spend it well.